Monday, September 30, 2013

Info about the Verizon Fans Voices program

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Fans Voices program and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.

A few of you may have already noticed the "Verizon Voices Sports" badge that has appeared on the top left corner of my blog page. What that means, as the disclosure notice says above, is that I'm getting the use of a wireless device (specifically, a Droid Maxx) for six months, including data service; and in exchange, I'll be writing my honest opinions about the product.

You will see me use the tags "VZWvoices" & "Fan" on Twitter and other social media platforms to indicate posts that relate to this program. I've been using the Droid Maxx for two weeks now, so it seems like a good time to post some intial thoughts on the product.

My current cell phone is a Droid Razr Maxx, which is basically the "grandfather" of the Droid Maxx, so to speak. As a result, making the shift from the Razr Maxx to the Maxx has been very easy for me. I spent a lot of time on my phone, mostly for social media and data-related purposes, but we'll also discuss call quality later as well.

Taking a look at the phones side by side: the Maxx (5.41" x 2.80" x 0.28") is just slightly bigger than the Razr Maxx, and slightly heavier (4.94 ounces). The visible screen on the newer Maxx fills almost as much space as the entire device, and not surprisingly for a newer product, has a brighter, sharper-resolution screen. I loaded the same background picture on to both phones to see the difference, above.

The bottom menu bar has changed slightly. The older Razr Maxx has a menu button on the primary menu bar; on the new Maxx, it appears as a button within the app you're using, often just below the space bar when using the keyboard. I find that bad placement as I often hit the menu button instead of the space bar while typing. The search button disappeared - replaced by the Google bar at the top of the screen - and the 'return' button remains, as does the 'home' button.

The Maxx has a new button (bottom right; looks like stack of papers) which makes it very quick and easy to swap between open applications, or easily shut applications off. When you tap it, it brings up a screen like this:

You can either swipe the open app window sideways to close that app, or you can just tap the window to access the app you're looking for. While I know it was possible to find this feature on my older phone, it is so much easier to access it on the Maxx. I use it frequently to close apps to manage power usage.

Speaking of power usage, the Droid Maxx is supposed to have "up to" 48 hours of use (and also claims "standby" battery life may be up to 25 days) with average usage, but so far, I haven't gotten it past 24 hours with my normal level of use. In fact, the first time I used the phone, I drained the battery in under 9 hours. Not sure if I have a flawed battery or not, as I'm using all the same apps as my Razr Maxx, at about my normal levels of use.

You can recharge the phone with a wireless charger or a traditional cord. I don't have a wireless charger, so I can't speak for the speed on that one, but it's a couple hours for a full charge.

The most noticeable feature for me so far is the fast loading speed for web pages and videos - a definite plus in today's media-heavy world.

The Maxx can also be used as a mobile hot spot, allowing you to provide WiFi for your other devices, such as a laptop, or for friends who might need WiFi. (Yes, you can password-protect it, of course!)

A sampling of photos and screen shots using the Maxx:
View of phone while playing video 
Screenshot of video

Panorama - full sunshine

Panorama - arena lighting

Photo - arena lighting

Photo - mostly dark (quality degrades as light decreases)

Overall, so far, the phone is a nice upgrade from the Razr Maxx, and it's easy to see what two years of technology improvements have done. 

With the season starting on October 1st, I will be able to use NHL GameCenter, and really put the phone through its paces, including using a NetGear Push2TV to view video streamed on my phone via my TV. 

In the meantime, if you see the hashtags "#VZWvoices #fan", whether it's myself or another blogger, you know that we're participating in this blogger program.

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